Italian Cream Cake-Gluten and Dairy Free

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½ cup organic palm shortening
½ cup non-dairy, cultured coconut oil butter 
2 cups organic unbleached cane sugar 
3 eggs, at room temperature
3 eggs divided into yolks and whites
2 Tbsp Agave Nectar 
1 ¼ cup almond or coconut milk blend
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
3 cups finely ground almond flour
1 cup Edward & Sons coconut flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
½ cup Edward & Sons lightly sweetened shredded coconut    

OPTION 1 (advanced)
½ cup flax egg whites (see below)*
1 cup organic unbleached sugar
½-1 cup organic powdered sugar (to taste)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp Agave Nectar (optional)
1 cup organic palm shortening 
½ cup cultured, coconut oil butter 
2 Tbsp of non-dairy cultured, cream cheese (optional) 
1 packet of Color Kitchen Food coloring 
½ cup Edward & Sons shredded sweetened coconut (for the garnish) 

4 cups of water
1½ cup of whole flax seeds (not ground)
INSTRUCTIONS: In a quart saucepan, simmer the flax seeds until reduced to 1 cup of water. Strain seeds and keep in the fridge up to 10 days or keep in the freezer! 

OPTION 2 (easy)
3 cans of Edward and Sons coconut cream chilled overnight
1 packet of gelatin 
1 packet of Color Kitchen Food coloring 
1 tsp vanilla 
1-2 cups of powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 4, 6” pans (OR) two 9 inch round pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Toast pecans while preparing ingredients, approximately 8-10 minutes. (This step will bring out the flavor of the pecans and keep them from being so soggy in the cake. It’s so worth it!) 

In a large bowl, cream the palm shortening and butter, sugar, 3 eggs, 3 egg yolks,  vanilla and almond extract together until creamy

In a large separate bowl, sift the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder and salt together.

In a clean bowl, (wipe any traces of grease clean with lemon juice or vinegar) whip together the 3 remaining egg whites until stiff peaks form. 

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, pour in the milk and fold the batter gently by hand until combined.  Then fold in the egg whites, toasted pecans and coconut until combined. Do not over mix!

Divide batter evenly between pans and spread out with a spatula to smooth the tops. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until cake is golden brown, no longer jiggly in the middle and a tester comes out clean.

Let the cake cool before removing from the pan and refrigerate the cake before frosting.

While the cake is baking, heat together flax egg white and sugar in a small saucepan until sugar has dissolved and add the agave nectar to keep it from crystallizing. Cool this syrup until you are ready to frost the cake. (I usually prep this ahead of time and store in the fridge, then warm it up to room temperature when needed.)   Note: it is very important the syrup is not warm or cold to the touch, or it will not incorporate into the butter correctly and may create a curdled mess of fat and syrup. If this happens just leave it out longer to warm up or place the bowl in warm water for a few minutes to speed up the process. All of your ingredients must be room temperature!

In mixing bowl, beat the organic palm shortening, butter, cream cheese and vanilla until creamy and smooth and slowly add the flax syrup. Continue beating for several minutes until mixture is fluffy and smooth. Add a the powdered sugar and continue to whip for a few more minutes until you reach the consistency of whipped cream. If the mixture doesn’t come together but looks too soft, add a little more butter or shortening by the tablespoon until it fluffs back up to firm peaks. 

Dissolve the powdered food colors in the flax syrup or in the vanilla extract before adding to the “buttercream”

Fill and frost your cake! 

Garnish with coconut and serve! (I pulsed the coconut in the processor a few times until it resembled snowflakes) 

Cake should be kept covered in the fridge for optimal freshness and will stay good for 4-5 days

In a microwave-safe, glass bowl (or saucepan on a stove top) dissolve gelatin in one can coconut cream for 2 minutes over medium heat. 

Let cool before adding the packet of color and vanilla.

Whip together chilled coconut cream and slowly add the cooled gelatin mixture and powdered sugar, whipping until stiff peaks form. This may take 3-4 minutes. If the cream doesn't whip up firm enough,  Let the mixture set in the fridge for an hour if needed and then whip again.  You can leave out the gelatin step 1-2, but this will stabilize the whipped cream and keep it from going flat so quickly when you spread it over the cake.

 Fill and frost on a chilled cake and serve!

Recipe: Kayla Peters at The Round House Bakery